We are grateful to Mrs Aphroditi Kouria for her assistance in authenticating this work.
In the summer of 1923, around the time he was appointed professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts, Nikolaos Lytras visited Tinos, the native island of his father, the great 19th century painter Nikiforos Lytras. The island became a source of inspiration for the artist, who produced a number of exquisite landscapes. "His fatherland, with its sparse, rugged terrain and sculptural quality of both its natural environment and traditional Cycladic architecture, all sustaining a dynamic balance under an ongoing discourse, offered Lytras many pictorial challenges inspired by the stark juxtapositions that engender powerful visual impressions. It should be noted that in all of his Tinos paintings, Lytras consistently avoids general or panoramic views of the island's village communities. Usually, only some scattered houses, identified by their solid, cubelike volumes, are juxtaposed with the wavy lines and flowing rhythms of the natural environment."1
Here, the inner rhythm of the landscape becomes the means by which the artist not only provides a depiction of nature but becomes part of its innate reality. Captured in burnished browns and lined by vegetation of glowing greens, the powerful diagonal of the ploughed field slashes the pictorial surface as if the painter was trying to delve in the bowels of the landscape in search of a deeper pictorial truth. Led by this strong diagonal, the viewer's eye reaches far beyond the barren field only to rest on some solitary trees and village houses represented on the smallest feasible scale. (Compare N. Lytras, Wheatfield, National Gallery, Athens). The simplified surfaces, the corporeality of the picture plane and the textured brushwork convey to the viewer a sense of immediacy and an impression of a first-hand experience, capturing the timeless canon of the Greek landscape.
1. A. Kouria, D. Portolos, Nikos Lytras, Building Form with Colour and Light [in Greek], National Gallery-A. Soutzos Museum & Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive, Athens 2008, pp. 115-117.